Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Steve Jobs

Lowdown: Steve Jobs' biography in a three set play.
If you read Steve Jobs' famous biography by Walter Isaacson
, you would arrive at the inevitable conclusion the guy was an asshole. A visionary asshole who made a difference to our lives, but an asshole still. Steve Jobs, the [new] movie (there were several others) by Danny Boyle, starring Michael Fassbender as Jobs, essentially takes this life spanning biographic tale and condenses it into a movie that is told to us through a theatre like play made of three distinct episodes.
First we have Jobs as he is about to make his 1984 presentation of the original Mac. That, if you recall your Apple history, was a commercial failure that ended up with him getting chucked out of the company he founded. The second act takes place just as Jobs is about to make his NEXT presentation of the failed product that, as much of a failure as it was, ended up securing his way back to Apple. And the third act has Jobs about to present the new iMac, the one running the UNIX based operating system that's still running Macs today, as he cements his return and his victory.
The point of this division is to emphasise the conflicts in Jobs' life and their evolution as Jobs evolves. Setting all three acts in the intense few hours prior to Jobs' famous presentations helps condense the the tension into the very combustible. And there is plenty of that to go around. There is Jobs' denying his fatherhood of daughter Lisa, his disregard for fellow Steve and Apple founder Wozniak (Seth Rogan), and his love/hate relationship to Scully (the guy who took over from Jobs as CEO during that intermediate period, played by Jeff Daniels).
There can be no doubt Steve Jobs is quality drama offering a crafty script and some fine acting, most notably by Fassbender but also by a Kate Winslet playing his assistant (?). Alas, at two hours long, this talkfest is rather tiring and heavy; it's not a movie that easy to watch, just as no person can sustain two hours of real life condensed dialog without a break.
Thus, ultimately, Steve Jobs fails as a movie. It fails graciously and no one can deny its smarts, but it is still not a good movie. Besides, I can tell you the main message you will take off the movie right now: Steve Jobs was an asshole [with some redeeming qualities]. Just like most of the rest of us.
Overall: I think the biography of Steve Jobs represents a story most of us can learn from, but I would recommend the book over the movie. The latter is probably recommended only to fans of old style theatrical dramas and those wishing to learn about Jobs in no more than two hours. 3 out of 5 crabs.

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